Monday, October 26, 2015

Great and Marvelous Work

Family and friends!

Hello there!! Things here in Chicago are starting to cool off and this
week I finally gave in and pulled out the sweater tights and boots.
It's going to be quite the winter here in the good ole Windy City!!
Well, aside from the weather, there are many wonderful changes taking
place each and every day as a missionary! This week we decided that we
would switch up our methods for finding people and get creative! So we
set a goal to increase our efforts in personal contacting! Our Zone
leaders challenged our zone to find three new investigators per week.
Which.... Is a big stretch... But one of my good friends said in his
letter to me, "faith all starts with just the desire to believe in
something and it grows from there." So true, faith is essential, and
then acting on that faith with courage and confidence is critical.
Sister Plomgren and I have decided that 3 Nephi 18:20 is our
companionship scripture for the month. "And whatsoever ye shall ask
the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall
receive, behold it shall be given unto you." New investigators are
essential in missionary work. In preach my gospel there is a line that
states, "nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to
teach."  I realize more and more as a missionary that the Lord blesses
us when we are willing to believe and act on faith.... This usually
means doing the HARD things.  During my finding experiences this week
I have discovered that when you give the Lord your best effort, even
though it can be hard, the Lord ALWAYS provides a way and as a
missionary he blesses us with opportunities to teach and to share his
gospel. I have a testimony of the Lord sanctifying my efforts as a
missionary and have seen it countless times as I have these special

On Wednesday evening sister Plomgren and I decided we were going to go
contacting at McDonald's. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that
since... Well in my eyes...McDonald's is gross. however, sister
Plomgren insisted we go, so I willingly went. After about 15 minutes
of just sitting there I began to feel discouraged.... So I got up...
Went into the bathroom and said a quiet, yet powerful prayer in my
heart to know who the lord needed me to talk to. When I walked out of
the bathroom I saw an older man sitting all alone in the corner eating
an ice cream sundae and drinking some coffee. I had noticed him when I
first walked in and told sister Plomgren... Hey maybe we should go
talk to him. She seemed hesitant and didn't really feel the desire...
But after the prayer I KNEW I needed to talk to him and the spirit was
prompting me so strongly... (Kind of like when you know you're
supposed to bear your testimony in fast and testimony meeting) I sat
there thinking about how to best address the situation and introduce
the gospel. I got up from my seat to throw away my water cup and
passed by him offering to throw away his trash. He was so shocked by
that small and simple genuine act of kindness that he started talking
with me! He invited me to sit down with him and we got to know each
other for quite some time. His name is Gary Brown and his wife died of
cancer, his daughter just graduated from graduate school and recently
moved back into the area. Anyways, long story short, Gary is baptist
and strongly believes in the bible. He teaches bible studies and
courses all over the community at different churches. We talked about
many different gospel topics... The bible, Jesus Christ, the second
coming.. Etc. He then pointed out... "We believe many of the same
foundational truths... What makes you so different?" This is then when
I had the most wonderful opportunity to bear my witness of the Book of
Mormon. He had never heard of the Book of Mormon before and but had
only seen the play. When I told him about how Christ appeared to the
Americas he immediately said..."I believe that." I then continued to
teach him more about the Book of Mormon and a light just lite up in
his eyes. He said he struggled to know why there were so many
different translations of the bible.. And was extremely fascinated to
know that the Book of Mormon had only been translated once. I
testified of the power and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and
handed it to him. He held it in his hands and flipped through the
pages truly sensing the important value... "How much can I pay you for
this book?" I said "nothing it is yours!" "No,no, I must pay you
something for this book." He insisted. "I can't take any money for
this book" he then tried to offer me a donation of money for the book
of mormon. My response was that if he promised to read the book than
that would be payment enough.  He then promised he would read it. I
have never seen anyone so enthusiastic to receive the Book of Mormon
for the first time. It helped me recognize the importance and value of
the Book of Mormon. We talked for almost an hour and half and then I
realized I needed to get back to my companion and head home. He the
told me he would love to meet and discuss more about the Book of
Mormon after he had read it. He wrote his contact information on the
back of his receipt and gave it to me and told me to contact him next
week after he had time to get into the book of Mormon and start
reading it. I walked out of McDonald's that night with a new
perspective on personal finding. The lord has prepared so many hearts
to receive this message, he just needs me to be humble and faithful
enough to find them. There is power in seeking out the one. The lord
is preparing people and the only way to find them is not to believe
that the everyone is set in their ways but that the lord has people
ready for us to teach!

Ive been reflecting a lot on the bible story of Peter walking on
water. Up until now I thought Peter was foolish for losing faith and
doubting because Jesus was right there! Well, I then thought to
myself... I have Christ there with me all the time, and how often do I
doubt? I wish I could say never. But it is something I am working on
each day, putting full faith in the Lord. When I start to worry or
question, I quickly remind myself...The lord has it all figured out...
This is his vineyard not mine!! I am imperfect and I am trying my best
to be in tune with the spirit and allowing the lord to make me a
vessel in his hands...For after all, It's not my work... This is the
lords work!
The responsibility as a representative of Jesus Christ is just that, a
responsibility and I feel this more and more as my mission goes on. It
truly is the strength of my purpose that motivates me to do the hard
things and relying on the Lord knowing... This is his great and
marvelous work.

I hope each of you have an amazing week! Although our lives can become
busy, never forget what is most important!! Sure love all of you!!
Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Sister Parke

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